Synchronized moving aperture radiation therapy (SMART): Improvement of breathing pattern reproducibility using respiratory coaching

Toni Neicu, Ross Berbeco, John Wolfgang, Steve B. Jiang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

129 Scopus citations


Recently, at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) we proposed a new treatment technique called synchronized moving aperture radiation therapy (SMART) to account for tumour motion during radiotherapy. The basic idea of SMART is to synchronize the moving radiation beam aperture formed by a dynamic multileaf collimator with the tumour motion induced by respiration. The two key requirements for being able to successfully use SMART in clinical practice are the precise and fast detection of tumour position during the simulation/treatment and the good reproducibility of the tumour motion pattern. To fulfil the first requirement, an integrated radiotherapy imaging system is currently being developed at MGH. The results of a previous study show that breath coaching techniques are required to make SMART an efficient technique in general. In this study, we investigate volunteer and patient respiratory coaching using a commercial respiratory gating system as a respiration coaching tool. Five healthy volunteers, observed during six sessions, and 33 lung cancer patients, observed during one session when undergoing 4D CT scans, were investigated with audio and visual promptings, with free breathing as a control. For all five volunteers, breath coaching was well tolerated and the intra- and inter-session reproducibility of the breathing pattern was greatly improved. Out of 33 patients, six exhibited a regular breathing pattern and needed no coaching, four could not be coached at all due to the patient's medical condition or had difficulty following the instructions, 13 could only be coached with audio instructions and 10 could follow the instructions of and benefit from audio-video coaching. We found that, for all volunteers and for those patients who could be properly coached, breath coaching improves the duty cycle of SMART treatment. However, about half of the patients could not follow both audio and video instructions simultaneously, suggesting that the current coaching technique requires improvements.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)617-636
Number of pages20
JournalPhysics in medicine and biology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 7 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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